Wednesday, 03 June 2015

What the Columnists Say

Published in Roundup of Columnists

Ahmet İnsel in Cumhuriyet writes that the purpose of the attacks that were carried out against the premises of HDP in Adana and Mersin was to provoke HDP supporters and incite them take to the streets.  Cengiz Çandar in Radikal writes that Turkey has lost its immunity to Salafism by acting as a sponsor of the Sunni radicals in Syria, in concert with Saudi Arabia­. On the occasion of the death of Kenan Evren, the general who took power in the 1980 coup, Fatih Yaşlı in Yurt notes that Evren fathered today’s “New Turkey” by putting the current neoliberal-Islamic regime in place. Mümtazer Türköne in Zaman similarly observes that Evren’s regime, with its oppressive institutions, is still in place. He also notes that Evren was responsible not only for the coup but also for the wave of assassinations and massacres from 1978 onwards that preceded it and was used to legitimize it. İhsan Dağı on the Diken news site writes that if HDP crosses the threshold to parliament in the upcoming general election, it will restore the faith in competitive democracy, by demonstrating that change by normal ways is still possible in Turkey.




Abdülkadir Selvi in Yeni Şafak writes that the polls show the HDP either just above or just below the ten percent threshold to parliament. There is no discernible return of the “pious Kurdish” vote that left AKP for HDP. HDP is the first choice of 63 percent of the Kurds. For the pious Kurds, preferring HDP is not a decision that is taken easily. We are faced with a change that has to be viewed sociologically. Traditionally, ethnicity used to come after the religious identity for the pious Kurds. Yes, Islam still preserves its importance. However, the Kurdish identity is rising to become the most important identity. In order to cross the threshold, the HDP has set its eyes on the Alevi vote of the CHP. For the first time there has been a flow of voters between the two parties. If the Alevis go to the HDP, they ensure that the party crosses the threshold. Until recently, there was a shift of the Alevi vote from the CHP to the HDP. However, following March 29, when Alevi candidates succeeded in getting elected to the top slots in the CHP, the Alevi vote started to migrate back home to the CHP. If the HDP does not cross the threshold, the AKP comfortably preserves its single party rule even if its support reaches no higher than 43 percent. If the HDP does get into parliament, a coalition government beckons. However, if the AKP reaches 45 percent, then the party will be able to keep governing on its own even in the case that the HDP crosses the threshold.


Orhan Bursalı in Cumhuriyet writes that it is not improbable that the election will result in the AKP maintaining its majority, but stability may nonetheless prove to be elusive. Continued totalitarian oppression can make the situation in the country increasingly volatile. A situation in which the country is governed, not in accordance with democracy, the parliamentarian system and the rules of the constitution but by an irresponsible president is certain to make the country ungovernable. The determination to impose constitutional amendments that enshrine presidential rule is also going to ensure that the country is kept in a permanent state of political and economic crisis. Even if AKP maintains its single party rule, the combination of growing economic problems and conditions of crisis as a result of these political confrontations make it very likely that the country is going to end up being ungovernable. We can be certain that the president is going to usurp power if he is unable to push through the constitutional amendment that he wishes; that fact alone is going to be cause for crisis.


Şahin Alpay in Zaman writes that the June 7 election is going to be Turkey’s most crucial electoral contest ever. It’s going to determine the future of the regime. If you want Erdoğan to retreat to exercising presidential authority within constitutional boundaries, then you have no choice but to vote for the HDP. But it is also a fact that HDP co-chairman Selahattin Demirtaş has succeeded in giving the HDP a new identity by his peaceful and liberal discourse and by his confidence-inspiring personality; that’s why support for the party is on the rise. If the HDP crosses the threshold it will not only be to the benefit of Turkey, but it will also be to the benefit of the AKP. If that happens, the AKP can be emancipated from the rule of a single individual and be handed the chance to repair its damaged image and perhaps even return to its prior, inclusive policies. It will also be to the benefit of the president if the HDP gets into parliament. It may free him from being prisoner to the desire to rule the country as a corporation, and he would at least get the chance to finish his term in peaceful conditions. He has labored hard and sweated for many years; he needs to rest.


Etyen Mahçupyan in Akşam writes that the HDP’s discourse has an interesting consequence. The HDP says openly that it is against the AKP, that it is not going to allow Erdogan to become an unchecked president. Yet it is not in any way evaluating how its stance is going to impact on the solution process. If the HDP crosses the threshold and the AKP is not able to attain a majority in parliament, there’s going to be a coalition, and this election process has demonstrated what coalition alternative is the realistic and “natural” one. This is going to be an AKP-MHP coalition… In short, if the HDP reaches its goals, we are going to be faced with a political environment where the solution process is shelved. The Kurds are going to have to wait a few more years before their demands regarding local rule and language rights are met, and reasonably no one is going to blame the AKP for this postponement. The HDP’s strategy is to cross the threshold, to pull the AKP down as much as possible and to refuse cooperation with the AKP. Meanwhile, the fact that this line will come at a cost – that the solution process is forfeited – is hidden. We will see how convincing the Kurds are going to find this “clever” policy…


İhsan Dağı on the Diken news site writes that the June 7 election can be a turning point in Turkey’s democratization. A Turkey that has overcome the threat of authoritarianism can evolve toward a period of democratic restoration. If it has come to be recognized that neither authoritarian secularism, nor authoritarian conservatism is a solution, then a liberal, democratic and secular societal consensus is not far away. The precondition is an election result on Sunday that stops the authoritarian drift. This requires that the CHP and MHP preserve their positions while the HDP crosses the threshold. Otherwise, the bitter fight between the forces of authoritarianism that seek to institutionalize the regime they have built during the last years and the democratic forces that oppose this is going to throw the country into chaos. It is Turkey’s choice: is it going to opt for autocracy and chaos or for democratic and libertarian restoration?

Read 30232 times Last modified on Monday, 08 June 2015

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The Turkey Analyst is a publication of the Central Asia-Caucasus Institute & Silk Road Studies Joint Center, designed to bring authoritative analysis and news on the rapidly developing domestic and foreign policy issues in Turkey. It includes topical analysis, as well as a summary of the Turkish media debate.


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